CHENNAI: West Asia is irrevocably marching towards democracy spurred as much by the urge for freedom as disgust over extended dictatorships that have curtailed civil rights and aggravated poverty and unemployment, according to speakers at a seminar here on Friday.
Participants at the seminar on “Where is West Asia heading?” hosted by the ‘Forum for the Promotion of Moderate Thought Among Muslims,' said the geopolitics of the region would hinge largely on the role Western nations, especially the U.S., played in West Asia.
Asghar Ali Engineer, Chairman, Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai, said the remarkable aspect of the mass struggle in Egypt was the exemplary democratic means of agitation that was devoid of religious slogans.
Moosa Raza, Chairman, Southern India Educational Trust, said history was repeating itself in the region where resentment had been simmering for decades over West-backed dictatorial regimes.
P.M. Belliappa, president, Association of British Scholars, said the mass struggles were rooted in issues of bad governance and resulted from failure of authoritarian regimes to apply course correction before disenchanted rank and file forced alternatives.
A. Faizur Rahman, Forum secretary-general, said it was a misconception propagated by some Western analysts that in the absence of authoritarian rulers, the West Asian region would plunge into chaos at the hands of so-called Islamists. It is also untrue to portray Islam as not compatible with democracy as the Islamic society established by the Prophet was democratic in the truest sense, he said.
Zackriah Badsha, Forum president, said the mass struggles were being driven by the urge for freedom.
(The Hindu dated 27th February 2011)